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Nature's View: The Surprising Way Looking at Nature Can Speed Up Your Recovery.

In a ground-breaking study conducted by Professor Roger Ulrich, previously of Texas A&M University, it was demonstrated that nature has a powerful impact on our health and well-being. Ulrich was the first researcher to use the strict standards of modern medical research to examine the effect of views of the natural world on patients recovering from surgery, infections, and other illnesses.


In 1984, Professor Ulrich published his findings in a paper titled "View through a window may influence recovery from surgery," in which he carried out a controlled investigation of the impact of green views on patients who had undergone a gall bladder surgery (Cholecystectomy). The study took place over a nine-year period, during which records were taken of patients staying in similar rooms with similar settings and dimensions. The same nurses who took care of the patients during that period were also taken into consideration.

Professor Ulrich took great care to control as many environmental variables as possible, even making sure that the records were taken during the months of May to October, when foliage was present. The only variable he allowed to change was the view through the windows of the patient rooms. In this study, two views were chosen: one of a brick wall, and another of a field containing deciduous trees.


To ensure a fair comparison, Professor Ulrich matched patients according to factors such as gender, smoking status, weight classification, and previous hospitalization history. The data collected on the patients included the number of hospitalization days, the strength and frequency of pain relief drugs used, and any minor complications the patients experienced during their stay. The study also recorded the notes taken by the nurses about each patient, which were later split into positive and negative categories.

Using the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed ranks analysis, Professor Ulrich found that the average length of hospitalization for patients with a view of the trees was 7.96 days, compared to 8.7 days for patients with a view of the brick wall. The nurse's notes also showed statistically significant results, with an average of 3.96 negative comments for patients with a view of the brick wall, compared to just 1.13 negative comments for patients with a view of the trees.


Another test, the multivariate two-sample Hoteling test, was used to compare the use of pain relief drugs during the patients' hospitalization. The results showed a significantly lower use of these drugs in rooms with a view of the trees compared to those with a view of the brick wall.


In conclusion, Professor Ulrich found that the design of a patient room, including the view from the windows, can have a significant impact on recovery from surgery and other illnesses. He recommended that hospital design and siting decisions take into account the quality of patient window views, stating, "these cautions notwithstanding, the results imply that hospital design and siting decisions should take into account the quality of patient window views."


So, dear reader, the next time you find yourself in a hospital room, remember the power of nature and its ability to aid in our recovery and well-being. As Miss Manners might say, "It's simply good manners to be mindful of the views that surround us and how they impact our health."

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